Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Ted Cruz: Whose Religious Liberty?

Dear Senator Cruz,

I’ve been looking at the information about your newly formed Religious Liberty Advisory Council. Reading your description and recognizing some of the people you have appointed to serve as advisors, I have to ask: Whose religious liberty are you seeking to protect?

Of course, as soon as I ask that question, I know the answer. constitution-426x225  It seems to me that your concerns are not the concerns of our Constitution: to hold in tension the many and varied rights of this vast variety of citizens who are all equally Americans.

It seems to me that your concerns are only for some Americans; your kind of Americans.

Why else would you form an advisory council that will offer you prefabricated, predetermined advice? There is no diversity within this group you appointed. There is no one here who will challenge your thinking and represent alternative viewpoints. There is no one here who will represent the voices and concerns of other people who are outside your tribe; who are outside your favor.

As I look at this list of advisors, I see only those who will tickle your ears with advice that is firmly grounded in your preconceived presuppositions and your narrow worldview. These kinds of advisors will not serve you well if you would seek to be a president for ALL Americans.

As a fellow Christian, as a minister and as a Texan, I have written numerous letters to you about my concerns. As one who stands proudly and humbly within the Christian social justice movement, I cannot be silent; I must speak out for those whose voices are not being heard. religious-liberty-protest (2) And I have to say it breaks my heart to hear you advocate so passionately for the “right” of certain types of Christians to discriminate against some of their fellow Americans. And in many cases, to legally discriminate against their own fellow Christians.

Do you not see that in supporting the religious privileges of some, you are damaging the human rights of others?

Within your Religious Liberty Advisory Council, who will speak up for the religious freedoms of our Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and other sisters and brothers who also have religious rights? Who will encourage you to advocate for the freedoms of our gay, lesbian and transgendered sisters and brothers?

You might consider calling me. I’m sure I can add some diversity to your council.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Charlotte Vaughan Coyle


A brief glimpse at Sen. Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council 24-ted-cruz.w529.h352

Chair – Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council. Tony Perkins publishes a regular column for The Patriot Post:

The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes Tony Perkins as an extremist and the Family Research Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. See here:

David and Jason Benham and pastor Mark Harris were featured in a recent Mother Jones article. See here:

The above article lists several statements of Sen Cruz naming what he will do and undo if he becomes president.

The Benham brothers are sons of the infamous Flip Benham of Operation Save America. See here:

Professor Carol Swain has an active petition circulating against her by students at Vanderbilt University. See here:


Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequentlyIntersections logo shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.

Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.


14 thoughts on “Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Ted Cruz: Whose Religious Liberty?

  1. From a former evangelical christian (now atheist), thanks for giving me hope that not all christians are bigoted and narrow-minded! (I know it’s not open minded of me to think this, but most christians I’ve met seem to be this way.) Its good to see a christian who genuinely seems to follow christ and love others, even when they are extremely different.

  2. Everyone’s religious liberty. Meaning you choose not to celebrate a persons sexual preferences. Or celebrate what you believe to be immoral. Not to push your beliefs on me to do as you say when my heart and ms God says it’s wrong.

    1. Ah yes Theresa, there is the tension in a secular society such as ours. But as a Christian, I must look to Christ to see how he treated other people. I can’t get away from his generous welcome to “tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes.” Accepting people just as they are, wherever they are in their journey of faith does two things: it affirms the image of God present in each person and it celebrates the God of grace who welcomes ME just as I am, wherever I am on my journey of faith. There is so much in all of us that is “wrong;” if I get started judging others and categorizing their sins on some sort of scale I’ve created, then I am no better than the religious folks Jesus chastised in the gospels. Thanks for reading and thanks for the conversation my sister. Peace…

  3. Fundamentalist Christians are planting the seeds of religious discrimination that will come back to bring real persecution to the Church. Right wing promotion of hate and intolerance is building a framework for ignoring the religious liberty that the founding fathers saw as integral to our nation. If Christians won’t stand with their Muslim neighbor ( and members of all religions, and no religion ) then who will stand with us. If they can’t be motivated by compassion for others and Jesus’ clear command to love our neighbors as ourselves, they should at least act in their own self-interest. While fundamentalist Christians spread an unreasonable fear of Islamic Sharia law, they actively promote Christian Sharia law. The best atmosphere to spread the gospel is in a community where there is openness, tolerance, and mutual respect. Cruz is not interested in Liberty or the love of God. His concern is with Constantinian power. He is focused on a worldly kingdom, and is ignoring Jesus’ Kingdom.

  4. The scary part is , Cruz wants to enshrine his beliefs into the Constitution and into our laws . Along with his other intentions for the Constitution , he would alter it in fundamental ways , destroying the rule of Constitutional law . He and a few others have already said they want a constitutional convention to create an amendment outlawing abortion and contraception , abolishing the IRS , establishing a flat tax that would hurt the poor the most and give the wealthy millions more , make the Bible and Christianity the ‘official’ religion of the US and he wants to preside over the Dominionist prosperity gospel idea of the transfer of wealth from the masses to the ‘righteous’ ! Cruz is not only a danger to the US , but to the entire world , as he tries to force his end times belief on everyone !

  5. I appreciate your political savy, and your courage and integrity to call it like you see it. It never ceases to amaze me how the very people running for high office in this country seem to show the least respect or knowledge of what it truly stands for. “Christian a Nation”—indeed! We are a nation of LAW, whose civil rights are extended to all people who abide by them. Mr Cruz is doubtlessly pandering to the broadest common denominator of religious zealots to further his campaign, which in my book—makes him a patronizing hypocrite, nothing more. I am the son of six generations of Holiness Preachers—I can recognize one when I see it.

    1. From one preacher’s kid to another! Yes, we can see things from a different perspective, can’t we? Thanks for reading and thanks for the conversation David.

  6. Your well thought out letter speaks well of the evil that Cruz’s position on religious freedom would bring to his potential administration – the most egregious being the violation of the separation of church and state – truly a scary guy.

  7. I really don’t think that A Christian Sharia Law is a good idea. The majority of the civilized world is at odds with countries that are infected with that kind of stupidity.

  8. Thank you for this, Charlotte. When did “family” become synonymous with “anti-gay”? I first noticed it here in the UK in 1997, when our local wonderful (and, incidentally, gay) MP first stood for Parliament against a slimy Tory with “family” values. Thank God he lost resoundingly, and Ben has served us well ever since. And when I clicked on your link to that woman from Vanderbilt, I discovered that I, too, could sign the students’ petition, so I did. One tries to do one’s bit… Keep up the good work, babe; it’s so good to read your humane and compassionate posts.

    1. I love that you signed the petition! Good for you! Yes. It takes all of us doing what we can. Thanks for reading and thanks for your encouragement Elise.

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